Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#19 Scary Fish

I have a plan to turn a space in my house into the sporting trophy room of the bravest monster hunter in the world! 

Now who you may ask, is this strange person who has traveled the world to dark places in search of the most deadly,  most exotic, and most formidable prey? 

I don't know, but he or she kicks ass!

The first most common trophy I thought of was a fish.... 
a Big Scary Fish!

There are quite a few Papier Mache artists out there that I admire. I think The one I have admired for the longest Is Dan 'the Monster Man' Reeder. 

I had just recently bought his book 'Monsters' and he had an amazing set of fish in there.
 I also want to try one of his dragon trophies (that would fit in the room as well )

I highly recommend the book! 
It has detail instructions, very easy to follow. His blog is also great.
 He is always willing to answer any questions you have.

So since this is his method I won't add the instructions just a few progress pics.

You will need a lot of newspaper!

I wanted to try a couple different things in his book (definitely a couple monsters) so I spent an afternoon just making papier mache limbs and balls per the instructions. Here are the balls drying outside in the perfect dry Arizona sun. Here papier mache is ready by the next day, if you remember to turn it mid day.

I used one big ball for the body, a medium ball for the head, and a few smaller ones for the tail gill and fin spots. Oh and a lot of masking tape.

Teeth are Fimo. Fins are coat hangers, tape, and phone book paper. Again, Dan has detailed instructions for all this on his blog and in his books.

I decided to use red gems for his eyes. You know, those bags that come in every color in the craft floral section. I had a bunch of these, but you can also order some pretty cool fish eyes online. Or make some out of clay.

Here is the beginning of Dan Reeder's signature Cloth Mache Skin, I am pretty sure he invented this method.

It is a super cool effect. The stickiness is something to get used to though. You need a lot of elmers glue and old bed sheets. 

Good Will is a good place for the sheets.

But it just so happens my bed sheets developed a tear right as I was getting to this part, such wonderful Luck! Also interestingly enough, the pretty new sheets I've been  wanting to buy were on sale that week! It's amazing how it all worked out.

Although My husband seems very suspicious of me, I swear it was all just fantastic coincidence!

More fins and then the scales. This is the messy fun part were you start to see your work come together. This part took a couple days just because the fins need to dry over night before you move to the next step and I could only take sticking my hands in the elmers glue for a couple hours at a time.

Here are all his scales gills all of its done and dry.
The different colors are just my different colored sheets.

I used some green house paint I had leftover for his base and black for the inside of his mouth. Then I did the black wash that Dan does, it really makes the colors pop!

And then i added highlights in yellows and blues.

All in all it takes one afternoon making the mache balls then a couple for them to dry.
An afternoon of cutting balls, taping, adding teeth eyes, fin bones.
Webbing about and hour but has to dry over night.
the skin scales you could probably do one side a day so about 3 afternoons.
And painting one day.

I plan to mount him on the wall. 

He is pretty light weight about 2 ft long. 
Now I want to make a giant shark!

Ok maybe I will wait a bit on that one. But it would be sweet wouldn't it?


  1. Your Fish is fantastic!!! I am a big fan of Dan's blog too, have one of his books, love his methods and sharing of them! I have a couple of Shoes I did, in his photo section. Isn't it fun! I want to do a fish too, but have way too many plans on wanting to make everything, hahaha... You did a super job, love it!

  2. Excellent I'd try a dragon if i were you you have Dans technique down to a T lol. Awesome stuff.

  3. Thank you both. Yes Dan is amazing. I'll just leave dragons to the master for now, and live vicariously through his blog. I cant wait to see the one he is currently working!